As I pounded on a big truck tire with a 20-pound sledge hammer, the final step in the grueling Crossfit workout, sweat beaded on my forehead. The sledge hammer exercise was the last phase in round one of the Workout of the Day, known as the WOD around the Alexandria Crossfit gym, that specializes in an all-body workout like no other. I had two more rounds to go.
Alexandria Crossfit gym was a single room, not much bigger than a typical coffee shop, and didnt have the flashy equipment, rows of computerized running machines, or 26 televisions tuned to ESPN like many commercial gyms. The workout wasnt the same either.
The WOD list up on the chalkboard contained 11 exercises like 20-pound swings, agility hurdles, 50 squats and the Burpee long jump. In the ideal workout, a person could go through the WOD list three times in 30 minutes, but it was rough. If it wasnt the barbell push ups lifting 30-pound weights with each hand between push ups then it might be the 50 squats that would have you begging for mercy.
The idea is you never want your body to adapt to the training, said operations manager Christy Nielsen, who was going through her three WOD cycles. Whatever your fitness goal is, youre going to achieve it here, she said. Nielsen does the training a few times a week and has sculpted shoulders, toned arms and flat stomach to show for it, even after having a baby.
Round two was a tad bit easier since I knew what to expect, but round three was a bear. After my final swing of the sledge, I felt like I accomplished something Im not sure what it was, but it was something.
Crossfit is a total body workout regimen that started in Santa Cruz, Calif. It is designed to provide strength and cardiovascular workouts in less than 30 minutes, making it ideal for the on-the-go types in the corporate world. There are no machines and each step on the WOD targets a different muscle group. There is a science to it, added Christy Nielsen.
According to Crossfit corporate information, it is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide. Although the gym at Huntington is a Crossfit facility, it is not a chain. The trainers in the gym Rudy Nielsen and Casey ODonnell are certified fitness instructors and are scheduled to take the Crossfit course to become certified in that as well. Many of the members are from Fort Belvoir.
The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. The WOD changes daily, but incorporates all the areas of fitness training necessary to benefit from the workout. Memberships are available for those who want a group setting, at $199 a month, or a private trainer at $325 a month. Members can come up to six days a week, and the gym is closed on Sundays. The gym opened on July 7, and so far the membership has been a little better than we thought, said owner Rudy Nielsen.
Alexandria resident Alice Scofield heard about Crossfit at Golds Gym in Mount Vernon from ODonnell who was her personal trainer. The time factor and intensity of the workout is good for her schedule. I saw a difference right away. I play volleyball on a team and I saw improvement right away, she said.
To achieve that chiseled body, the program is supposed to be done six days a week as well. When people come in six days a week, we call them ironmen, said Rudy Nielsen.